Tag Archives: negotiation

Boris bombs in Northern Ireland talks – he has managed to upset everyone

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald meets Boris Johnson: she said she received no straight answers from him. Great result! The rest of us have to put up with outright lies.

Boris Johnson has managed a rare achievement in modern politics: having travelled to Northern Ireland for talks on how to restore the devolved government there, he managed to upset everybody he met.

The prime minister’s visit comes after the Democratic Unionist Party blocked the election of a Speaker to a new assembly at Stormont last Friday, meaning it cannot function.

The DUP – and other unionist parties – want changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol of the UK’s agreement to leave the European Union, which they say creates a hard trade border between the Province and Britain.

Johnson claimed to be there to build a consensus with political parties in Northern Ireland – but faced considerable distrust because they all know his foreign secretary, Liz Truss, is expected to make a statement on the government’s plans to act on the protocol on Tuesday – possibly overriding parts of the Brexit deal.

So, while they disagree on the issue that divides them, the Northern Irish parties seem to be united in their distrust of the man with ultimate power to act on it.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Johnson of unacceptable and obstructionist tactics, placating the DUP and giving “no straight answers”: “The British government is in a game of brinkmanship with the European institutions, indulging a section of political unionism which believes it can frustrate and hold society to ransom.”

The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said he would judge Johnson on his actions, not words: “We cannot have power-sharing unless there is a consensus. That consensus doesn’t exist.”

Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry was no more positive: “We’ve seen a lot of soft words from the prime minister, an attempt at some sort of consensual way forward, but those words belie the fact that tomorrow Liz Truss is set to make a statement to parliament setting out the basis of the UK taking unilateral action on the protocol.”

And Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood said: “If the British government tomorrow signal their intent to break international law by legislating to rip up the protocol at Westminster he will not have the support of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.”

Johnson was jeered by about 200 people as his cavalcade arrived at Hillsborough, including campaigners for Irish language legislation, anti-Brexit activists and victims’ campaigners objecting to the government’s proposed legislation for dealing with legacy cases from the Troubles.

So in fact, Johnson has achieved a positive result.

He has united the people of Northern Ireland. None of them would trust him further than they could spit a rat.

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Was Vox Political article the blueprint for Russo-Ukrainian peace?

The negotiators: it may look as dull as ditchwater but it seems peace may break out as a result of what has been happening in this room.

Even This Writer can’t seriously make the claim in the headline.

But isn’t it curious that negotiators have come up with a 15-point plan for peace, after This Site published its own naive – I thoughtconcepts of what might work.

The one element that seems to be public knowledge at the time of writing is that Ukraine would give up its bid to join Nato, becoming neutral but able to call on protection from allies like the US, UK and Turkey.

That’s very close to my suggestion that Ukraine remain outside Nato but be able to call on the organisation for protection if its borders were violated – isn’t it?

Perhaps the negotiators could take up my ideas about the breakaway eastern territories and those seized by Russia in 2014 too?

This Writer’s biggest concern is that sanctions imposed by other nations against Russia become a sticking-point in international relations.

Logically, any that have been imposed by the UK will be dropped with indecent speed by Boris Johnson, because he’ll want to restore his funding stream.

But Russia’s claim that Western sanctions against Russia are “aggression and war with economic, political, information means” is a cause for concern.

Sanity may be breaking out between Russia and Ukraine, but is there any hope that it may spread elsewhere as well?

Source: Ukraine war: Reports ’15-point’ peace deal being ‘seriously discussed’ as Putin says he’s ‘ready to talk’ | World News | Sky News

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Russia-Ukraine: third round of talks begins – but will Johnson try to sabotage them?

Is Boris Johnson Vladimir Putin’s useful idiot? If Johnson announces new sanctions against Russia while that country is holding peace talks with Ukraine, it could provide an excuse for Putin to continue the war.

Russian and Ukrainian diplomats are meeting for a third round of peace talks, amid a wave of propaganda from both sides.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy reckons “there will be judgement” on Russia for its invasion of his country, while Vladimir Putin says Russia would quit Ukraine immediately if Ukraine agrees to demilitarise, and to allow the disputed regions in eastern Ukraine their autonomy.

None of the claims are realistic, and This Writer doubts they will be mentioned when the talks restart at 2pm today (4pm in eastern Europe). The negotiators will be looking for a mutually-acceptable conclusion – not trying to score public relations points.

I don’t think Russia will be prepared to give any ground on the disputed eastern regions that are inhabited by people of Russian ethnicity, who identify with Russia and who have (allegedly?) been persecuted for many years.

Nor will Russia relent on its determination that the Crimea should be acknowledged as a Russian territory. This is not unreasonable as it was only given to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in an act of remorse for what he saw as that country’s poor treatment within the USSR.

But the demand for Ukraine to demilitarise is unreasonable. If that country rid itself of all military forces, there would be nothing to stop Russia from rolling straight back in and taking over completely.

And there’s no reason for Ukraine to do as Russia demands; when an invader finds out he can’t win, you don’t offer to make it easier for him.

Realistically, both sides know this. They’ll be seeking a solution that allows them both to walk away with dignity.

Unfortunately, Boris Johnson has decided to hold talks on further sanctions against Russia, at the same time as the peace negotiations are taking place. He started his meeting with the Canadian and Dutch prime ministers at midday and is planning a press conference at 2.50pm – while the Russia-Ukraine talks are taking place.

Will he make an announcement that could upset the peace process? Probably. Johnson is a fool who acts only in what he sees as his own interest.

But what is Johnson’s interest?

Judging by his behaviour so far, his interests lie in prolonging Russia’s war, protecting that country’s interests in the UK, and preventing Ukrainian refugees from gaining asylum here.

An announcement of further sanctions – to be imposed at an undefined point in the future, as far as the UK is concerned – may be just the inflammatory stimulus Russia needs to call off peace talks again.

Bear in mind: it is the timing of the press conference that is contentious. By making an announcement on sanctions while the peace talks are taking place, Johnson is denying Putin and Zelenskyy a chance to come to an agreement.

If they were to make progress, an announcement on sanctions may be unnecessary in any case.

It seems that, by trying to appear proactive, Boris Johnson is simply trying to get in the way.

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Putin has found ANOTHER way to make the West look stupid: talk

Buddies: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China. Putin seems keen to go back to the negotiating table after a chat in which Xi reminded him of China’s preference to leave other countries’ borders inviolate and their internal affairs to their governments.

Having almost conquered Ukraine within two days, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found another way to make Nato and the western powers including the UK and USA look stupid: negotiations.

According to Reuters,

Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a delegation to Minsk for negotiations with representatives of Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Friday after the Russian leader held a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The shift in mood could throw a lifeline to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has always said he knows his country can’t withstand an attack by Russia on its own.

He has had to watch Russian troops move into his capital city of Kiev, despite the heroic efforts of his outnumbered and outgunned military – and armed civilians. This could prevent further violence.

And it’s a good move for Putin because it makes the western jingoists look daft again. They’ve been saying he wants to create a new Soviet Union, starting with an occupation of Ukraine, and a trip to the negotiating table – most likely to secure Ukrainian neutrality so it won’t join Nato – will well and truly end that story.

This Writer is willing to bet he’ll take the disputed eastern territories into Russia as part of the negotiations; he’s in a position of power and will use it. He’ll say it’s what the people there want.

If Zelenskyy agrees to talks, and if we’re all very lucky, the violence could be all over by Monday.*

*All right, that’s highly optimistic. But a phrase reminiscent of “It’ll all be over by Christmas” reminds us all of what we’re risking, doesn’t it?

Source: Putin tells China’s Xi that Russia is ready to talk with Ukraine – Kremlin | Reuters

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Richard Ratcliffe hunger strike: Nazanin’s husband is risking permanent harm but the Tories don’t care

We’re 16 days into Richard Ratcliffe’s hunger strike outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and none of the Tory government could care less.

We shouldn’t be surprised.

Since Mr Ratcliffe’s wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was first imprisoned under false charges in Iran, the UK government has only worsened her situation.

Boris Johnson famously mistook the accusation against her for what she did, providing the Iranian authorities with justification, not only for having jailed her, but for jailing her for an indefinite period to come.

And then Johnson turned Nazanin’s freedom into a bargaining chip in an argument between the UK and Iran over around £450 million owed to the Middle East country since the Shah was overthrown in the late 1970s.

That gave the Iranians reason enough to find another charge on which to keep her imprisoned for another year.

But it won’t do any good because Johnson and the Tories couldn’t care less what happens to anybody who isn’t one of them.

Mr Ratcliffe, after having entrusted his wife’s well-being into the hands of the worst clown ever to hold high office, has realised that nothing will change unless there is a genuine threat to health and life.

So he started his hunger strike, more than two weeks ago – and is now in danger of suffering permanent harm to his health.

And nobody in the government has paid a blind bit of attention.

Liz Truss, the current Foreign Secretary, has probably walked past Mr Ratcliffe – on her way to vote in support of corrupt Owen Paterson last Wednesday, for example – without a first glance, let alone a second.

Mr Ratcliffe is receiving his fair share of celebrity visitors who are raising whatever publicity they can give him – but it’s not doing any good, for the reason I state below:

Then again, how many people in the UK even know that the husband of a woman who is wrongly imprisoned because of the prime minister is even on hunger strike at all?

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Brexit trade talks continue after deadline as UK and EU negotiators appear to change their story

Man in black: why isn’t Johnson wearing a Union Flag facemask, considering von der Leyen has one for the EU? Men in black are traditionally… villains, aren’t they?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Sunday, December 13 the deadline for a post-Brexit EU-UK trade deal, considering the ratification process for all Parliaments?

Suddenly that’s not the story after all. Instead:

The two sides had said Sunday was the deadline for a decision on whether to continue with talks.

They’re making this stuff up as they go – on both sides.

This is what happens when both sides in a confrontation talk tough but know they really need to come to terms.

The UK is facing an economic disaster (that prime minister Boris Johnson may – or may not – be secretly working towards, depending on which rumours you believe).

And the EU has to consider the possibility of political destabilisation that could arise from failure to reach a deal.

And both could be hoping to magic up a public relations miracle in time for Christmas.

Forgive me, but This Writer finds the timing – and the rhetoric – all to be a little… cynical.

Source: Brexit trade talks: UK and EU to ‘go the extra mile’ in effort to agree deal – BBC News

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John Redwood thinks the UK can control its fish. John Redwood thinks he is Aquaman

John Redwood: I’m quite fond of this image of him, clearly broadcasting from his home planet.

Just when the Conservatives really need someone to win back their credibility, John Redwood turns up and starts talking about fish.

As UK-EU trade talks resumed in London, with an attempt to resolve differences on fishing quotas high on the agenda, Redwood tweeted this:

“Controlling our own fish”?

They’re not like dogs! You can’t put a salmon on a lead. You can’t put a harness on a halibut. And I’m sure a cod couldn’t care less what John Redwood thinks it should do.

Maybe fish behave differently on Vulcan.

Maybe Redwood has tired of being compared to a character from Star Trek and wants to take on a new role…

There have been attempts to grapple with the underlying issue…

… but not many.

This Writer wouldn’t be surprised if Tory desperation has reached such a point that they’re hoping we’ll be too busy laughing at Redwood to notice when they bugger up the bargaining – again.

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Why did Johnson say trade talks with the EU had ended – only to restart them within days?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Was he wearing it when he announced that talks on a trade deal with the EU had been called off?

This looks like a set-up, to me.

Last week, Boris Johnson and his Tory government said that a “no deal” Brexit was now inevitable because talks with the EU had broken down irretrievably.

“Really?” I thought at the time. “Are they going to come back in a few days time and say there’s been a breakthrough, it’s all back on and they’re making a history (it’s always historic) deal?”

And lo! it is coming to pass:

The UK is “ready to welcome the EU team” to continue negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal, says No 10.

The two sides’ chief negotiators, Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier, spoke on the phone earlier after talks stalled last week.

Following the conversation, Downing Street said the pair had “jointly agreed a set of principles for handling this intensified phase of talks”.

The intention is to create some more public goodwill for the Tories, who have realised that any good feeling among the general population of the UK has dwindled away to nothing.

Of course, being Tories, they can’t generate it by actually doing something good; it had to be with a stupid trick.

Anybody can fabricate an emergency of their own making and then solve it.

If a deal comes from the new negotiations, it is because the UK and the EU were always going to make one – not because the talks have been saved.

Anything else is just more smoke and mirrors from the Tory liars.

That’s my interpretation of it.

Source: Brexit: UK ‘ready to welcome EU’ to continue trade talks – BBC News

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Johnson’s overcooked ‘oven-ready deal’ has blown up in his face. Why is he happy about it?

From Twitter: the caption was “Get in, losers. We’re driving it off a No Deal cliff.”

It seems Boris Johnson is getting exactly the kind of Brexit his backers wanted: ‘no deal’, meaning disaster for the UK economy.

He is putting on his sad face at the moment but that’s not fooling me, and it shouldn’t fool you.

His claim that Brussels has “abandoned” the ambition of a free trade deal is as empty as his soul:

Sky News has this to say:

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has told his European counterpart not to come to London on Monday to resolve stalled talks, after the prime minister warned it was time to “get ready” to leave without a deal.

Isn’t this the same prime minister who said there was an ‘oven ready’ trade deal, only last year?

And didn’t he – also – say that failure to secure a deal would be a failure of statecraft?

So isn’t he admitting that he is a failed prime minister? And shouldn’t we be demanding his resignation and replacement at the earliest possible opportunity?

Johnson is, of course, doing his best to blameshift responsibility for his failure onto the EU:

Mr Johnson said in a dramatic intervention that “there doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels”.

He told businesses and hauliers to “get ready” for there to be no free trade deal.

But this is clearly nonsense, in the light of what he – and other Brexiters – have been saying since before the EU referendum in 2016.

They have spent years trying to convince us that the EU nations would be desperate to forge a deal with the UK that would put us at an advantage.

Instead, it seems we’re going to have to pay high tariffs to sell into a market that was free before Johnson and his cronies convinced 17 million of us to vote the entire nation out.

And remember, Johnson won last year’s general election on this – claiming that he would “Get Brexit Done” and it would create a golden future for the UK.

Well. At best he was mistaken. At worst he was lying.

This Writer remembers the claims that he was in cahoots with a cartel of wealthy hedge fund bosses who had bet heavily on the UK leaving without a trade deal, and on this causing the end of a large number of major UK businesses.

Doesn’t this seem more likely now – especially as Johnson has intervened personally to stop any further negotiations, a month and a half before the transition period ends?

It all seems highly suspicious to me.

And I’m not the only one, it seems:

(Incredible that Boris Johnson’s selfishness has actually put me on the same side as Dan Hodges…)

It seems likely the decision to end negotiations and prepare for ‘no deal’ could also mean the end of the United Kingdom as we know it:

Johnson tried to regain some of the credibility he has lost by suggesting that the UK was headed for an “Australia-style deal”…

He said the UK’s relationship with the EU could be more like the one Brussels has with Australia, which will mean tariffs being introduced on goods between the UK and the 27 other EU countries.

… but it seems he’s either badly mistaken (yet again) or trying to pull over our eyes (yet again):

Perhaps this is the most accurate comment of the day:

Source: Brexit: Michel Barnier told to stay home after Boris Johnson says EU ‘abandoned free trade deal’ | Politics News | Sky News

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Andrew Bridgen destroys his government’s credibility on EU trade talks

Andrew Bridgen: winner of this week’s “Inverse Genius” award.


Everyone with any political nous in the UK has been laughing at eurosceptic Andrew Bridgen after he swallowed both feet (metaphorically) in a Channel 4 News interview.

Discussing his Fuhrer Boris Johnson’s plan to renege on the EU withdrawal agreement that he signed in January, Bridgen said – well, see for yourself:

The reaction on Twitter has been universal:

https://twitter.com/cbailiss/status/1303110907732602883

What a… typical Conservative MP.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook